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Drinking with Cats – Visiting a Korean Cat Cafe

Every time I told Pierre that I wanted to visit a cat cafe when I was in South Korea he would tease me. I freely admit that I’m an unabashed cat lover. I have a big fluffy ginger cat at home that I miss every time I travel.  We didn’t have much time in Seoul so it looked like I was going to miss my chance to visit a cafe again. Since Gunsan is a small city it was unlikely they’d have one. But lo and behold… what did a Google search turn up? A cat cafe just recently opened up in our fair city. There was much rejoicing.

Photo: Pierre Trowbridge / Lazy Saturday afternoon

Photo: Pierre Trowbridge / Lazy Saturday afternoon

So what is a cat cafe you may be wondering? It’s like a coffee shop set in the house of a crazy cat lady. There are usually 10-20 cats roaming freely while you sip your latte or smoothie. Different cafes have different rules but the main idea is that you pay for a drink and can pet and play with the kitties. The majority of Koreans live in apartments and not all buildings will allow pets which is one reason why cat (and dog) cafes have flourished. If you can’t have one at home but want a little kitty love now and then the cat cafe is for you.

We visited Dalgo Cat Cafe late one sunny Saturday afternoon. The cafe is on the second floor of a building in Gunsan’s old downtown neighbourhood of Young-dong. It’s bright and airy, decorated with light woods, bare hanging lights and balls of yarn. There are lots of places for the cats to hang out and a few spots for them to hide from visitors if they feel so inclined. There’s even have a giant hamster type wheel that one cat took for a short spin during our visit.

Dalgo Cat Cafe

Upon arriving the first thing we had to do was take off our shoes and put on a pair of foam slippers. One of the employees gestured for us to hold out our hands so she could squirt antibacterial gel into them. Makes sense since we don’t want the cats to get sick. We then chose our drinks and were let loose to meet the cats. I couldn’t help thinking that working at one of these cafes would’ve been the perfect after school job for me when I was younger. The staff at Dalgo had as much fun interacting with the cats as their customers.

Photo: Pierre Trowbridge

Photo: Pierre Trowbridge / I called this one Grumpy Cat. She didn’t seem too fond of her haircut.

Two books of photos were delivered to our table along with our fruit smoothies: one introducing each cat and giving some stats on them and the other filled with photos of the cats. I tried to remember their names but in the end I just gave some of them my own nicknames. The cats were very mellow and most were sleeping when we were there. None of them seemed to mind in the least though if you petted them. Either they’re just so used to it that they don’t notice or there’s some Ativan in the kibble. I did get one cute ginger cat purring while he lazed about though.

Photo: Pierre Trowbridge / These two munckin cats were loving on each other before they both passed out.

Photo: Pierre Trowbridge / These two munchkin cats were loving on each other before they both passed out.

I’m glad I finally got to visit a cat cafe after first hearing about them in the fall. I don’t understand how being surrounded by such furry cuteness couldn’t brighten someone’s day. I love the idea of opening up one in Canada but I doubt insurance or health inspectors would let me so they’ll remain something I’ll enjoy when I’m in east Asia and missing my own critter. Have you ever visited a cat (or dog) cafe? Would you consider it sometime?

Cat Cafe

Fact Sheet

  • What: Dalgo Cat Cafe
  • Where: Young-dong, Gunsan, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea. Easiest way to find it is to ask a cab driver to take you to Lee Sung Dang (이성당) Bakery. Facing the bakery walk to your left. Cross the intersection and keep walking past Lotteria. Veer left and then make a left turn and you’ll see the cafe on the second floor of a building across the street.
  • Cost: ₩7000 per person which includes one drink.

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16 responses to “Drinking with Cats – Visiting a Korean Cat Cafe”

  1. […] Drinking with Cats – Visiting a Korean Cat Cafe (suitcaseandheels.com) […]

  2. […] Drinking with Cats – Visiting a Korean Cat Cafe (suitcaseandheels.com) […]

  3. Suzy says:

    I really like this idea, especially if you were lonely on your travels. There is just something about being able to interact with a cat or dog that I think would make you feel better with homesickness.

  4. Alyson says:

    That is so incredibly cool! Feeling sad today, we’re about to re[home our lovely cat. Maybe I’ll need some purr therapy somewhere once we’re on the road.

  5. Jess says:

    I wish they had these everywhere! I would happily pay to cuddle kitties every once in a while.

    • Melissa Hogan says:

      Wouldn’t that just make everyone’s day better? Silly laws and regulations harshing my kitty buzz.

  6. LC says:

    Omg, there is just too much cuteness in this post!

    Actually, I think it’s a great idea – they train therapy dogs because playing with animals has been shown to lower blood pressure and help with depression: http://www.defense.gov/News/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=44657

    So really, not only is this a cute idea, it’s technically rooted in medical research :)

    • Melissa Hogan says:

      I hadn’t actually thought about the therapy animal angle but you’re right! It’s too bad that health and insurance wouldn’t allow them here in Canada but one could hope. Kitten therapy is the best.

  7. This is so cute! I would totally go to a pet café. My landlord doesn’t let me have pets and I miss my cats at home!

    • Melissa Hogan says:

      If I do any longer term travel I’m going to have to send my cat off to my dad and I know that’ll miss him so it’s great to know that, at least in east Asia, I can hang out with some kitties now and then.

  8. Alessandra says:

    cats are not items of furniture. They are animals. I don’t like this kind of idea, I find it a form of exploitation.

    • I can understand where you may be coming from. With the cafe I visited it really had the vibe of well cared for housepets who just happened to get a lot of visitors. There were lots of places the animals could go if they wanted to get away from humans and have some alone time. Lots of toys, lots of space to run around and lots of feline and human company.

    • Donnie V says:

      My cats love being petted regardless of who is doing it. If they are people friendly cats I am sure they enjoy the attention as much as we do.

  9. Sara says:

    Oh man, look how cuddly they are! I’m not even a cat person, but this kinda looks like fun :P

  10. Fundleshop says:

    The theme for the Cafe is very clever. The idea you can play with the kitties makes it irresistible for cat lovers.

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